Infrastructure South Africa



The INFRA SA Consortium is responsible for the design of the Infrastructure & Power Products for SKA1-mid in South Africa. This includes Access (roads, civil works), Buildings, Communication, Site Monitoring, Security, Antenna Foundations, Vehicles, Power, Water and Sanitation.

There has been good progress by the Consortium in conjunction with other Consortia in an effort to to finalise the external Interface Control Documents (ICDs) in preparation for System PDR.

The Consortium has largely focussed on developing the Level 3 requirements for the SKA1-mid infrastructure and power products. The majority of the Level 3 requirements have now been completed and released for detailed design purposes.


The Consortium has undertaken a series of power measurements of the MeerKAT radio telescope in an effort to validate the MeerKAT power consumption as an input into the SKAO power budget. A report will be submitted to the SKAO in preparation for the next release of the SKAO power budget.

The Consortium is currently undertaking a trade-off study to investigate alternative technical solutions for the provision of power to some of the antennas in the spiral arms together with the associated costs of these renewable power alternatives. RFI measurements will be undertaken on a demonstrator which will be set up in Pretoria, South Africa in December 2016.


A review of the steel bolt cage design was held on the 31st October 2016 and all observations have been addressed by the design team. Based on the ICD being agreed with Dish consortium manufacture of the steel bolt cage will be able to proceed and other long-lead items can be ordered..

A detailed design review of the antenna foundation prototype (Figure 1) took place on the 29th November 2016. A further review is being arranged specifically to address construction related documentation and also several changes required by the first review.

The prototype is scheduled for construction in Q1 2017. This will be preceded by the construction of the access road, the platform and installation of services sleeves.


Figure 1: 3D Model of SKA1-mid Antenna Foundation Prototype


The tender documentation to appoint a design engineering team to assist the Consortium with the detailed design of the upgrade the Central Processing Facility and Power Facility has been completed and advertised. A compulsory tender briefing will be held on site on the 14th December 2016. This tender is expected to be awarded in April 2017 with the detailed design being concluded in October 2017.


Following inputs from the Strategic Environmental Specialist studies and floodline analysis undertaken on the SKA site in South Africa, a number of antenna positions have been moved out of environmental NO GO areas. SKA SA has updated the configuration which has been reviewed with and accepted by the SKAO. These changes will be formalised through the ECP process.


Further access has been obtained on privately-owned land to undertake further geotechnical drilling as an input into the antenna foundation design. Drilling will re-commence at the beginning of 2017. The floodline analysis report will also be updated based on the revised SKA1-mid physical configuration.


The Consortium submitted cost-reduction options as requested by the SKAO for the reduction of the spiral arm baselines and the reduction in the number of antennas (reduction of antenna foundations) on the 31st October 2016. The Consortium is currently arranging an independent review of the SKA1-mid infrastructure and power costs in preparation for the February 2017 cost plan submission..

Report provided by the Infrastructure South Africa consortium